Wimmera experiences booming trade over Christmas, Boxing Day period

WIMMERA retailers have experienced booming trade this week, with pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales.

Horsham Toyworld and Just Juniors owner Angela Ballinger said she could not be happier with how business went.

“We have been absolutely flat out,” she said.

“We are very lucky, we enjoy consistent sales year in, year out, and this year was right up there with what we were expecting.”

Horsham Plaza had its busiest day since 2010 on Monday.

Centre manager Allison Roberts said 12,139 people went through the plaza on Monday.

“It was busier than our best day last year,” she said.

More than 7200 people had passed through the centre by 3pm on Boxing Day, and Mrs Roberts said more were still passing through the doors.

“There is every chance we’ll have a record number of shoppers this year,” she said.

About 8555 people visited Horsham Plaza on Boxing Day last year.

“Also, up to Sunday our door traffic customers for the month were up by 8000 people compared with the same days last year,” Mrs Roberts said.

She said all the stores were very busy and shoppers were great.

“People had to wait in line to pay but everyone was very courteous, which was good,” she said.

She said drivers had difficulty finding a vacant parking space. “Santa has been flat out having photos taken with children as well,” she said.

“We were very pleased with how busy it was.”

Mrs Roberts said an increase in the number of stores could have helped increase the traffic.

“We have more stores than last year and Spotlight and NQR have added to the appeal of coming to the plaza,” she said.

Sportspower Stawell owner Robyn Young said Monday was a particularly busy day for the store.

“People seem to be more organised this year and we were quieter on Christmas Eve,” she said.

This year’s sales were on par with previous years.

“We have sold a lot more vouchers this year though – they have definitely been the most popular,” she said.

“It has been challenging helping people find their Christmas presents but we have had lots of happy campers leaving the store with gifts.”

Hermans Interiors owner Ray Hermans said trade earlier in December had been up and down.

“After a strong November, the start of December was fairly flat,” he said.

“It was difficult to predict from one day to the next.

“But as farmers got closer to finishing harvest, we’ve found that the trade increased closer to Christmas.” He said Monday was the busiest day so far.

Business Horsham executive administrator Wendy Mitchell said retailers had had an exceptional week.

“It was particularly busy on Monday in the street – there were people everywhere,” she said.

“Christmas Eve was a bit quieter, the supermarkets were busy but the retail wasn’t as busy.”

She said new Shop Horsham gift cards had sold extremely well.

The cards can be redeemed at more than 40 participating businesses.

“This means there is $23,000 out there in gift cards that will be spent in the community,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We are stoked with the sale.”

She said the cards would be available year round for any occasion.

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